Setting up ArcMap to use custom overlay reference grids

In some cases, the grids provided by the Grids and Graticules Wizard or those created using the Make Grids and Graticules Layer geoprocessing tool do not meet your needs. You may want to use a custom overlay reference grid. You can create custom overlay reference grids that use the geometry of a line or polygon data source to define the grid lines and an attribute column in this same feature class to specify the labels. Using ArcMap, you need to create a new reference system to contain the custom overlay grid you want to use.

If ArcMap is configured to show the Grids and Graticules Wizard, this must be disabled before creating a custom overlay grid. If Wizard Mode is not disabled, you will not be able to select the grids you want in the Reference System Selector. See Disabling wizards in ArcMap.

The following steps are needed to set up ArcMap before creating custom overlay reference grids.

  1. Run the ArcMap Advanced Settings utility, which can be found in the Utilities folder where you installed ArcGIS (the default installation location is <install drive>:\Program Files\ArcGIS\Desktop10.0\Utilities).
  2. On the System Paths tab, set the reference system path by navigating to the folder containing the reference systems you want to use to render the custom overlay grids.
  3. A folder containing precreated reference systems for custom overlays is installed as part of the ArcGIS setup. It is located at <install drive>:\Program Files\ArcGIS\Desktop10.0\Reference Systems

    Once you have set the reference system path on the Advanced ArcMap Settings dialog box, you are ready to create custom overlay grids in ArcMap.

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